Exercising is not for everyone, even though everyone knows they should be doing it. But, when you make it your New Year’s resolution again, it is time that you try something different to motivate you to get up off your couch.
How about creating an exercise routine not only for you, but for you and your fur baby, and doing it together? This is the perfect way to make exercising more fun - taking your mind off what you are doing and enjoying the experience with your dog.
“Using your pet as an excuse to exercise is a great way to get outdoors, sweat a little and bond all at the same time,” says Dr. Guy Fyvie, Hill’s Pet Nutrition nutritional advisor. “Exercising with your dog, especially when you are used to exercising indoors at the gym, will be a new experience, and the results will not only be visible for you, but for your pet as well.”
Dogs are like small children, if you don’t give them something constructive to do, and use up their energy you may not like what they get up to on their own. Exercising your dog gives him the opportunity to put his energy into something constructive, and, at the same time, get fit and stay healthy.
“Often we think running is the only choice we have when it comes to exercising with your dog, however if you are not a runner and your dog is pushing old age this might not be the best choice,” says Dr. Fyvie.
There are many other options to consider:
Hiking is great exercise and it can be done at your own pace. If your dog likes water, supervised swimming is great for older dogs as it is a low-impact sport and places less strain on their joints.
Also, with the current heatwave some parts of the country are experiencing, swimming and shorter exercise sessions are preferable to avoid heatstroke.
When it comes to strength training try and include games such as tug of war and tossing the Frisbee.
No matter where you live, there is always an option to exercise outdoors with your dog.
Living in Gauteng? Why not try out Walkhaven in Zwartkop or FairieGlen in Pretoria? Cape Town has many options, including the Sea Point Promenade and Newlands Forest.
Durbanites can exercise with their dogs at Alfred Park and Glenholme Nature Reserve. If in doubt, go online.